Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kitain in Kawagoe

The temple Kita-in in Kawagoe it is believed to have been founded in 830 by monk Ennin, burned down in 1205, the temple was rebuilt in 1296. The temple was patronized by the Tokugawa shoguns, and after another fired destroyed the temple in 1638, Iemitsu Tokugawa transferred part of the Edo castle to kita-in. These buildings are the only surviving of the castle after the damage to Tokyo during grand Kanto earthquake.

One of the rooms is believe to be the one where Iemitsu was born.
The tahoto pagoda built in 1639, was moved several times, until finally being set to its current location in 1973.

The Jingendo, located in a hill was built by order of ieyasu in 1645 it is considerate an important cultural asset.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

500 statues of rakan at Kita-in

Among the attractions in Kawagoe Saitama prefecture, the 500 statues of Rakan at Kita-in temple are extremely popular, and are indispensable stopover for visitors of not only temple’s but to the Kawagoe area as well.

The Rakan figures, one of the three largest in Japan, are statues representing the disciples of Buddha. The 500 statues (actually 538) with no two alike, all in different position and with different face expression: smiling, crying, angry, praying, at rest, and many others, represent the various aspects of the Buddhist life.
Carved in stone between 1782 and 1825, the statues are in a walled area, in front of the Kita-in temple, hiding the statues to temple visitors, and thus often missed to visitors with not prior knowledge of the statues.

According to the tradition if you come in the middle of the night and feel the head of rakans you will find one that is warm, if you come in the morning to see this statue, this will be the one that most resembles you.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Haneda Otorii

Haneda Torii
The Haneda Otorii in Ota ku is a legendary torii found in a small area, surrounded by the Haneda airport, the Tamagawa River and the Kanpachi Street. According to the urban legend, this torii was to be relocated with the Haneda shrine in 1945, but as several workers died during the moving effort, the work was suspended and the torii was left at his original location.

A more informed version of the story, notes that this torii was left behind on purpose, perhaps as a Japanese symbol for the airport.  The torii was actually moved 800m in 1999 during the construction of a new runway, with no casualties or mysterious accidents reported.

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